Major Chinese Sports Lottery Bullish On Mobile And Social Networking

500.com shares double in three months on the New York exchange

The government-approved Chinese sports lottery 500.com continues to present staggering statistics on its performance, and is hoping for even bigger revenues through its mobile operations and the addition of more social networking features to its lottery sales platform ahead of the FIFA World Cup.

Last year 500.com sold more than 3 billion yuan (US$ 488 million) worth of sports lottery bets to more than 20 million registered users, and it is beefing up its social networking and mobile effort, chairman Vincent Law told the Xinhua news agency in an interview this week.

The success has received international recognition; three months after listing on the New York exchange this year the Shenzen-based company's share price has doubled and looks set to continue in an upward trajectory.

"Soccer fans might not use our site to buy lottery tickets, but they can use our platform to network with other fans, and discuss matches or a particular player," Law said.

The company has both Apple and Android apps and has been working to incorporate its lottery sales service on other popular apps with a broad user base, such as Alipay.

Two kinds of lotteries are legal on the Chinese mainland, one for welfare and the other for sports. Proceeds are used to fund charitable causes and mass sport education programs.

Xinhua reports that lottery sales have grown more than 10 percent in China for the past decade and exceeded 300 billion yuan last year, up 18.3 percent from a year ago, according to Ministry of Finance statistics.

Research consultancy iResearch estimates that sports lottery sales at 500.com accounted for 29 percent of total online sports lottery sales in China during the first half of 2013.

Company numbers indicate that 67 percent of its active users access its facilities via the mobile channel, and their purchases represent around 18 percent of total lottery sales.

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